Fifty years ago, on April 1, 1967, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) came into existence, helping to fulfill President Lyndon B. Johnson’s pledge to ensure the safety of Americans on land, sea, and air.
In 1966, Johnson recommended the creation of a single Department of Transportation (DOT), bringing together the functions of many far-flung agencies. He also urged
…that there be created under the Secretary of Transportation a National Transportation Safety Board independent of the operating units of the Department. The sole function of this Board will be the safety of our travelers. It will review investigations of accidents to seek their causes. It will determine compliance with safety standards. It will examine the adequacy of the safety standards themselves… I consider the functions of this Board so important that I am requesting authority from Congress to name five Presidential appointees as its members.
...No function of the new agency—no responsibility of its Secretary—will be more important than safety.
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NTSB: 50 Years of Asking “Why?” NTSB Safety Compass Blog
NTSB 50th Anniversary Video - This video looks at several key changes that the safety board helped bring about.
In the five decades since the NTSB was created, it has investigated thousands of accidents and made more than 14,500 recommendations to improve transportation safety. More than 80 percent of these accident-prevention recommendations have been acted upon favorably, saving countless lives.